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Concept: Marginal zone


Background. Treatment of splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) patients is not standardized. Recent data suggest that rituximab is highly effective and could be considered as initial therapy.Aim. To assess the efficacy of rituximab monotherapy in a large series of patients with SMZL and compare these results with splenectomy results.Methods. The studied population included 85 patients. Fifty-eight received rituximab at a dose of 375 mg/m(2) per week for 6 weeks as induction followed by maintenance at the same dose every 2 months for 1-2 years, whereas 27 patients were treated using splenectomy only.Results. The overall response rate to rituximab 2 months after the end of induction was 95% (complete response [CR], 45%; unconfirmed CR, 26%; partial response, 24%). The median times to hematologic and clinical response were 2 weeks and 3 weeks, respectively. Forty-three of 55 patients already completed the maintenance phase: 28 sustained their initial response, 14 improved their response, and one progressed. Eighty-five percent of splenectomized patients responded, and two were treated with rituximab as consolidation after splenectomy and achieved a CR. The 5-year overall and progression-free survival (PFS) rates for rituximab-treated and splenectomized patients were 92% and 77% (p = .09) and 73% and 58% (p = .06), respectively. Furthermore, maintenance therapy with rituximab resulted in a longer duration of response (at 5 years, PFS was 84% for patients receiving maintenance and 36% for patients without maintenance, p <.0001).Conclusions. Rituximab is a very effective and well-tolerated therapy and may be substituted for splenectomy as the first-line treatment of choice for patients with SMZL.

Concepts: Leukemia, Splenic marginal zone lymphoma, Lymphoma, Marginal zone, Blood disorders, Types of cancer, Spleen, Hematology


The splenic marginal zone is a unique microenvironment where resident immune cells are exposed to the open blood circulation. Even though it has an important role in responses against blood-borne antigens, lymphocyte migration in the marginal zone has not been intravitally visualized due to challenges associated with achieving adequate imaging depth in this abdominal organ. Here we develop a two-photon microscopy procedure to study marginal zone and follicular B-cell movement in the live mouse spleen. We show that marginal zone B cells are highly motile and exhibit long membrane extensions. Marginal zone B cells shuttle between the marginal zone and follicles with at least one-fifth of the cells exchanging between compartments per hour, a behaviour that explains their ability to deliver antigens rapidly from the open blood circulation to the secluded follicles. Follicular B cells also transit from follicles to the marginal zone, but unlike marginal zone B cells, they fail to undergo integrin-mediated adhesion, become caught in fluid flow and are carried into the red pulp. Follicular B-cell egress via the marginal zone is sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1PR1)-dependent. This study shows that marginal zone B cells migrate continually between marginal zone and follicles and establishes the marginal zone as a site of S1PR1-dependent B-cell exit from follicles. The results also show how adhesive differences of similar cells critically influence their behaviour in the same microenvironment.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Protein, Lymphatic system, Hematology, Marginal zone, Blood, Spleen, Immune system


Although almost any non-Hodgkin lymphoma can involve the spleen or an extranodal site as part of more widely disseminated disease, there is a group of small B-cell lymphomas that specifically arise in these locations. These are important to recognise as some appear to have a behaviour and prognosis that is distinct from their nodal counterparts. In addition, there are entities that are specific to extranodal locations (such as extranodal marginal zone lymphoma) and to the red or white pulp of the spleen. In this review, the characteristics of these entities will be presented as well as clues to help distinguish lymphoma from reactive infiltrates in extranodal sites and measure to distinguish between small B-cell lymphomas encountered in the spleen and at extranodal locations.

Concepts: White pulp, B-cell lymphoma, T-cell lymphoma, Lymphatic system, Marginal zone, Types of cancer, Spleen, Lymphoma


We have reconstructed small parts of capillary networks in the human splenic white pulp using serial sections immunostained for CD34 alone or for CD34 and CD271. The three-dimensional (3D) models show three types of interconnected networks: a network with very few long capillaries inside the white pulp originating from central arteries, a denser network surrounding follicles plus periarterial T-cell regions and a network in the red pulp. Capillaries of the perifollicular network and the red pulp network have open ends. Perifollicular capillaries form an arrangement similar to a basketball net located in the outer marginal zone. The marginal zone is defined by MAdCAM-1+ marginal reticular stromal cells. Perifollicular capillaries are connected to red pulp capillaries surrounded by CD271+ stromal capillary sheath cells. The scarcity of capillaries inside the splenic white pulp is astonishing, as non-polarised germinal centres with proliferating B-cells occur in adult human spleens. We suggest that specialized stromal marginal reticular cells form a barrier inside the splenic marginal zone, which together with the scarcity of capillaries guarantees the maintenance of gradients necessary for positioning of migratory B- and T-lymphocytes in the human splenic white pulp.

Concepts: T cell, White pulp, Blood, Hematology, Lymphatic system, Marginal zone, Red pulp, Spleen



Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is a heterogeneous B-cell malignancy for which no standard treatment exists. MZL is frequently linked to chronic infection, which may induce B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling resulting in aberrant B-cell survival and proliferation. We conducted a multicenter, open-label, phase 2 study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ibrutinib in previously treated MZL. Patients with histologically-confirmed MZL of all subtypes who received ≥1 prior therapy with an anti-CD20 antibody-containing regimen were treated with ibrutinib 560 mg orally once daily until progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end point was independent review committee-assessed overall response rate (ORR) by 2007 IWG criteria. Among 63 enrolled patients, median age was 66 years (range, 30-92). Median number of prior systemic therapies was 2 (range, 1-9), and 63% received ≥1 prior chemoimmunotherapy. In 60 evaluable patients, ORR was 48% (95% CI, 35-62). With median follow-up of 19.4 months, median duration of response was not reached (95% CI, 16.7-NE), and median progression-free survival was 14.2 months (95% CI, 8.3-NE). Grade ≥3 adverse events (AEs; >5%) included anemia, pneumonia, and fatigue. Serious AEs of any grade occurred in 44%, with grade 3-4 pneumonia being the most common (8%). Rates of discontinuation and dose reductions due to AEs were 17% and 10%, respectively. Single-agent ibrutinib induced durable responses with a favorable benefit-risk profile in patients with previously treated MZL, confirming the role of BCR signaling in this malignancy. Given the lack of approved therapies, ibrutinib may provide a treatment option without chemotherapy for MZL.

Concepts: Marginal zone B-cell lymphoma, Marginal zone, Systemic therapy, Median, Lymphoma, Cancer, Chemotherapy regimens, Medical terms


Infection is a major complication of acute stroke and causes increased mortality and morbidity; however, current interventions do not prevent infection and improve clinical outcome in stroke patients. The mechanisms that underlie susceptibility to infection in these patients are unclear. Splenic marginal zone (MZ) B cells are innate-like lymphocytes that provide early defence against bacterial infection. Here we show experimental stroke in mice induces a marked loss of MZ B cells, deficiencies in capturing blood-borne antigen and suppression of circulating IgM. These deficits are accompanied by spontaneous bacterial lung infection. IgM levels are similarly suppressed in stroke patients. β-adrenergic receptor antagonism after experimental stroke prevents loss of splenic MZ B cells, preserves IgM levels, and reduces bacterial burden. These findings suggest that adrenergic-mediated loss of MZ B cells contributes to the infection-prone state after stroke and identify systemic B-cell disruption as a target for therapeutic manipulation.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Marginal zone, Suppression of dissent, Stroke, B cell, Bacteria, Protein, Immune system


Histiocytic sarcoma is a rare histiocytic neoplasm of unknown etiology that constitutes less than 1% of hematologic malignancies. A few cases of histiocytic sarcoma harboring the BRAF (V600E) mutation have been reported, but this finding has not been confirmed in all studies.

Concepts: Blood disorders, Spleen, Hematological malignancy, Hematology, Marginal zone, Lymphoma, Types of cancer, Cancer


Notch2 and B cell antigen receptor (BCR) signaling determine whether transitional B cells become marginal zone B (MZB) or follicular B (FoB) cells in the spleen, but it is unknown how these pathways are related. We generated Taok3(-/-) mice, lacking the serine/threonine kinase Taok3, and found cell-intrinsic defects in the development of MZB but not FoB cells. Type 1 transitional (T1) B cells required Taok3 to rapidly respond to ligation by the Notch ligand Delta-like 1. BCR ligation by endogenous or exogenous ligands induced the surface expression of the metalloproteinase ADAM10 on T1 B cells in a Taok3-dependent manner. T1 B cells expressing surface ADAM10 were committed to becoming MZB cells in vivo, whereas T1 B cells lacking expression of ADAM10 were not. Thus, during positive selection in the spleen, BCR signaling causes immature T1 B cells to become receptive to Notch ligands via Taok3-mediated surface expression of ADAM10.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, T cell receptor, Major histocompatibility complex, Adaptive immune system, Bacteria, Marginal zone, Gene, Protein


Marginal zone lymphomas (MZLs) consist of a diverse family of malignancies, which are derived from B-cells. The disease subtypes are recognized extranodal, nodal, and splenic MZLs. The disease characteristics, clinical course, and treatment vary considerably based on the site of involvement. In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration approved ibrutinib, a first in class Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor that revolutionized the care of chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients; for, the treatment of relapsed/refractory MZL based on pivotal open-label Phase II trial demonstrated an overall response rate of 48%, with a complete response rate of 3%, median progression-free survival of 14.2 months, and median overall survival not yet reached at a median follow-up of 19.4 months. In this review, we aim to summarize the current conundrums in the management of MZL and the evolving role of ibrutinib in the treatment of MZL.

Concepts: Blood disorders, Types of cancer, Marginal zone, B cell, Clinical trial, Lymphoma, Cancer, Leukemia